SANFORD — Melodie Bernard, the “Mel” in Mel’s Raspberry Patch, looked all over for a location in which to expand her business, and found one just a few miles away in Springvale village. The new location, on Main Street ”“ Route 109 ”“ near the Vet Center, is expected to open sometime this week.

The new restaurant will offer up the same breakfast and lunch favorites that staff serve at the original Mel’s on Route 4 ”“ bacon and eggs, french toast, breakfast burritos, and pot roast, turkey dinners and American chop suey. There’s corn chowder, and haddock chowder is always available on Fridays. As well, there are gluten-free, homemade muffins, biscuits and breads.

The original location is busy, prompting the expansion. She said the new location will be handier for customers who live in Springvale or Shapleigh and convenient for older folks who might not want to make the drive to Route 4.

For the last several weeks, there have been renovations going on at the Springvale restaurant ”“ and some decorating, too. Gabriel Garneau, who painted the raspberry mural in Sanford, has been wielding his brushes in Springvale as well.

Bernard’s son, Keith, will be cooking and managing the new location and another son, Archer, will be prep cook. And there will be a full staff to make sure folks are waited upon and served quickly and efficiently, she said. Mel’s Raspberry Patch employs eight people full-time in the Sanford location along with a couple of part-timers, has hired some folks in Springvale and is in the process of hiring more.

Bernard, who has cooked in restaurants from North Berwick to the coast, opened Mel’s Raspberry Patch in 2005. She was at Doughty Falls Restaurant in North Berwick until it closed, and worked at Egg & I in Ogunquit, among other popular dining venues.

She and her husband, Archer ”“ their son is named for his father ”“ raised six children, many of whom are involved in the restaurant ”“ and when the kids were young, she said she didn’t think they’d be considered for a business loan.

“This was my dream” she said.

That dream came true nine years ago, and Mel said it was pretty scary at first. They purchased the building, which had been home to another restaurant, remodeled it and opened one week later.

At the counter in the Sanford restaurant last week, Mel reflected on her career ”“ which began as part of a co-op program that awarded credits for skills attained through summer employment. Mel landed a co-op job with what is now called St. Louis Child Development Center. There were several tasks associated with the job, including working in the kitchen. She said she got along so well with the kitchen manager, she was asked to continue there through the summer, so she did. After high school graduation, there were several other restaurant jobs, and a stint or two in a couple of factories, but Mel always came back to restaurant work.

Both restaurants will maintain the same schedule: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., seven days a week.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]



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